Well just like every other big brand, SMEs also need content marketing. The fundamental reason is to have their digital presence, increase visibility of the offering and to make their product or service “a brand” in the industry. Content marketing also plays a vital role in a brand identity shift. And today companies with all sizes have realised an online presence can give them a tremendous boost.
On one side, there is abundant information available for consumers on the web, and on the other side, the consumers want specific information to make decisions. And this information is mixed with a lot of mediocre content on the web. As a result, this consumer need (conscious or subconscious) for relevant information to make smart decisions is the sweet spot and is what you need to discover. This is the essence of content marketing.
Identifying the sweet spot for SMEs is more important as they have less to offer than big brands, but it might be possible that the offering is much better in terms of quality and innovation. Clearly searching for the content gap and then exploiting the obvious opportunity is what SMEs must focus on. Hence, with less but quality content they can derive more value and revenue.
Big benefits for small investments in content-led digital marketing include
- Building Your Brand Equity and Awareness
- Building Customer Relationships and Increase Customer Engagement
Increasing trust and reach
Much more cost effective than display advertising, TVC and billboards
Research shows that content marketing costs around 62 per cent less than traditional forms of marketing and generates about three times as many leads.
What SMEs must concentrate on is to build a bucket of content solely driven by your market experience and expertise. This established you (or brand) as a thought leader. This isn’t selling, this is a fantastic way to let consumers perceive things on a higher level to make informed decisions.
Creating brand accounts on all social channels is the easy step. The trouble is to find out which channel is relevant, and what variety of content is consumed on each channel. Most small businesses fail to optimize their social channels.
Below are the challenges which might hinder growth. These are the opportunities to be exploited, which will help you achieve gradual, but substantial growth.
What are the challenges?
#1 Missing on formulating objectives
Setting up the objectives is one of the biggest challenges that brands face nowadays. Brands just go online without taking into consideration, what they actually want to achieve with this. And hence they have nothing to measure their success against.
Rather than playing darts in the dark, every small business needs to pen down the objective of establishing the brand’s digital presence. Because being a small company you cannot afford to burn resources without setting objectives.
#2 Fail to gauge what content is needed
Creating content is easy but creating good content is a laborious task and involves meticulous planning. Companies generally fail to understand what their audience want to read/consume via digital platforms.
Since the content you produce acts as an influencer, you got to conduct thorough research and analyze the kind of content which eventually bring value to your consumers, and of course help them buy your products or services. Remember, selling is a byproduct, not a means to convince consumers.
While sitting down to create engaging content, most businesses Google keywords and read/watch what is available on the web. It is fine up until this moment. The trouble begins when the business replicates the same content in a different tone. This is absolute false assumption. Just because you rewrite it in a different tone, doesn’t change the message. If you cannot contribute value to the content you produce, then, better not do it at all.
#3 Lack of good content marketing strategy
A lot of content is available on the web (apparently 2 million blog posts get created every single day!). Many big brands have written much useful blogs but a lot of them lack a solid content strategy.
A well formulated content strategy tells you two things 1) what kind of content should we produce? And 2) How to optimize this content to the digital platforms.
Unless, you know whom, why, and what you are writing for (this is content strategy), all your efforts will go for a toss.
#4 Insufficient resources
SMEs generally fail to gather sufficient and skilled resources to plan and execute a perfect content marketing plan. Apart from a content manager, content developer, content amplifier, there is a lot which they need for a successful marketing plan.
A good plan consist of consistent, high quality, relevant content based on the conversation points which were identified as a part of marketing strategy. Often SMEs face constraint for quality content, time and obviously budget.
#5 Not able to keep up with the competition
The attention economy is not growing, that means we have to grab the attention that someone else has today- Brent Leary, Co-founder, CRM Essentials
Whatever domain you are into, someone else (most likely, your competitors) have already been writing about it. The challenge here is to innovate with your content. New formats, interesting facts and perfect writing are aspects which will set you apart from existing content.
These tasks need intelligent resources to perfect (mind you, it will take time to create the right content) content creation. Add to this, the frequency of churning out content. This doesn’t mean 2 or 3 content pieces per day. No, no. Whatever the number, it requires enough resources to do 3 things 1) plan 2) execute 3) analyze and amplify.
# 6 Underestimating paid promotions
Sometimes writing a great article is just not enough. Even organic reach cannot help you meet your objectives. You need to set aside a decent budget for paid promotions to extract maximum value out of your published content.
# 7 Unaware of amazing tools
There are a number of tools which help in creating and amplifying your content. Most of them are still unknown to many people. Being an SME it is highly suggested not to undervalue these tools. They make digital marketing production and promotion easier and faster, ultimately helping you in making more valuable content for your money.
# 8 Practicing to be patient
We understand that by investing time, money and effort, you must be hoping for instant results. Most of the companies fail to understand that content is a long term asset and generates value over a period of time. If you become impatient and give up with your consistency and exceptional content production, you will lose a marvelous opportunity to build a trustworthy brand and a loyal customer base. A study says, that even with a good content marketing team, it can often take several years to start doing what it actually is supposed to do. The Gen next is digital, if you will not sell it, someone else will.
What are the opportunities?
Once you have successfully overcome all the challenges and catered to your target group, the opportunities which content marketing throws up are immense.
From gaining recall value to become industry leader, all of this possible with a good content marketing plan. And then it hardly matters whether you are a small, medium or a big company. You gain name and success for your offering, innovation and content.
#1 Data collection
It is the huge opportunity which many companies fail to exploit. With a good content marketing plan, you can have access to insights on your customers, potential customers or the target market as a whole.
#2 Global visibility
Any advertisement on national television will cost you heavily and then also, your brand will be seen only nationwide. But there is no bar for internet. It can easily and affordably sell your name worldwide. SMEs must properly and effectively explore the opportunity for a greater reach.
#3 Sense of recognition and boosting morale
When you publish a popular asset, the cheering it receives on the social web can validate the efforts of the entire company. And any appreciation adds to the morale of the employees and hence increases the productivity. A name recognised worldwide gives the owner a sense of recognition and acceptance. And a positive thought can lead to better prospects and opportunities.
#4 A recruiting edge
Recruiting skilled and top calibre talent is the motto of every organisation, be it big or small. It becomes even crucial for SMEs as their whole business depends on the resourceful skills. An engaging content marketing program can help you to build your image while recruiting and hence gives you an edge.
#5 Content creates engagement be it your employees or customers
Exciting content does not only get your customers and prospects talking, but creates an internal buzz as well. And when people talk, comment, debate or advocate your content, it creates an opportunity for future programs.
Engagement can help you to work on those unexplored sections which you never knew that existed. Also any engagement makes the other person feel privileged and important, which ultimately leads to long term relationships.
#5 Hire Content Marketing Professional as your extended team
A professional can help you get more out of less. They can deliver optimum results with limited budget. It is advisable for brands to look for specialists who can identify the challenges and overcome those easily. The opportunities which they will be able to discover and utilize are exceptional.
Each day a new segment is explored. And as always, challenges and opportunities are two sides of a coin. But SMEs must take into consideration that the challenges can be overruled and the opportunities can be utilised for a bigger and better future.